Hearty Barley Salad

Hearty Barley Salad

1 1/2 cups pearl barley

2 tsp. salt

2 cups sliced in two, grape tomatoes

1/4 red onion, small dice

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Half of a red, yellow and orange bell pepper, diced

Combine 4 cups of water and the barley. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer on medium low heat until barley is almost tender. Stir in 2 tsp salt and continue to cook until tender. Drain well; set aside to cool.

Toss in the remaining ingredients.


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 shallots , chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp. black pepper

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients and whisk until emulsified. Toss with the barley mixture.

Curried Potato-Leek and Spinach Soup- Cheap eats for dinner!

tHSZfTw813c213631313936383r71oqQcA_1346357710Curried Potato-Leek and Spinach Soup

Serves 2

2 medium leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch pieces  to equal 2 cups

1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 tsp. curry powder

2 cups water

1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves, Cut spinach into thin strips

1/2 cup milk

salt and pepper; to taste

In a heavy bottomed soup pot add the butter, curry, leeks and potatoes. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the water; bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Place mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into pot and add milk. Heat until heated through. Do not boil. Stir in spinach.

Curried Lamb Patties with Radish Raita

Curried Lamb Patties with Radish Raita


Radish Raita:

1/3 cup yogurt

2 tablespoons, small diced radish

1 tsp. small minced red onion

1 tsp. lime juice

salt and pepper; to taste

Lamb Patties:

1 lb. ground lamb

3 tablespoons small diced red onion

1 1/2 tablespoons mango chutney

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp paprika

salt and pepper; to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Combine all ingredients: set aside.

Lamb patties:

Combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties. Heat a large heavy pan with the vegetable oil. Cook the patties about 3 1/2 minutes per side or until just cooked through.

Serve with raita and naan bread.

Florentine Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce

Florentine Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce



4 whole, skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/2 lb. ricotta cheese

1/2 lb. fresh baby spinach

1/2 cup broccoli florets

salt and pepper; to taste

pinch of  dried thyme

pinch of dried tarragon

Mustard Sauce:

Dripping from the roasting pan

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups heavy cream

1-2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Split the chicken breasts in the middle creating a pouch but not cutting all the way through; set aside.

In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the spinach, broccoli, ricotta cheese and seasonings. Pulse until combined. Stuff each breast with the filling and place in a roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove cooked breasts from pan and place a baking sheet ; cover with foil. Meanwhile make the sauce.

Place the roasting pan on top of stove. Add the wine  and deglaze the pan, stirring. Add the heavy cream, whisking over medium-high heat. Whisk in mustard to taste. Watch the boiling sauce. It can boil over quickly. If it boils too much, lower the temperature a little bit. Boil until sauce is thickened. Serve with cooked chicken.

Salmon-Asparagus Bisque

fehL8TaG13c213631303338353fehL8TaG_1346357592Salmon-Asparagus Bisque

1/2 lb. salmon

juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup green onions, sliced onions

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

3 cups half-half

1/2 cup tomato puree

2 tablespoon dry sherry

1 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1 lb. skinny fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces if larger than a pencil, blanch cut pieces.

Poach salmon with juice from 1 lemon and enough water to just cover. Cool, flake and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter, stir in green onions and garlic; saute until onions are transparent. Blend in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and half-and-half, stirring until thickened. Add the salmon, asparagus pieces, tomato puree, sherry , salt, dill and pepper. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh dill.

Lamb Kabobs with Mint Southwestern Jalapeno Sauce

Lamb Kabobs with Mint Southwestern Jalapeno Sauce

1 (5lb.) boneless lamb shoulder


1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup  fresh orange juice

1 tsp. orange zest

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 1/2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Jalapeno Mint Sauce:

3 tablespoons water

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin

1 tsp. water

1/4 cup chopped mint

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 drops vanilla extract

Cut the trim and cut the shoulder into large cubes for kabobs. Combine the marinade ingredients ; whisk. Toss meat in marinade. Place in a plastic ziploc bag and marinate overnight.

Jalapeno Mint Sauce:

In a saucepan add the sugar and 3 tablespoons water and cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved. In a separate bowl add the jalapeno, mint, red pepper flakes and vanilla. Dissolve the gelatin in the 1 tsp. of water and add to the sugar mixture.. Bring to boil and pour over jalapeno mixture.

Place the meat on skewers and cook on hot grill until done. Pour sauce over the top.

Roasted Asparagus and Minted Red Potato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

Roasted Asparagus and Minted Red Potato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise:
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons white wine

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the white wine overnight. Combine all the ingredients including the soaked sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor and process until smooth. Chill.


About 24 stalks of asparagus

olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Place the cleaned trimmed asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender. Remove from oven and drizzle with the raspberry vinegar. Set aside to cool.

Minted New Red Potatoes:

2 cups very small red potatoes

3 tablespoons mint

2 tsp. salt

Place the potatoes, mint and salt in a heavy bottom pot. Add water just to cover the top of the potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Drain and allow to cool.

Toss the cooled potatoes in the sun-dried tomato dressing. Layer the bottom of the serving dish with the asparagus and pile the potatoes on top.


Chicken, Sausage and Okra Gumbo

ehL8TaGq13c21363039303534371oqQcAQ_1346357554Chicken, Sausage and Okra Gumbo

Photo: Chicken, Sausage and Okra Gumbo

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 lbs. smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices.

8 chicken thighs

8 drumsticks

2 (10 oz.) boxes of frozen sliced okra

2 onions, chopped

3 celery ribs, sliced

8 cups chicken broth

8 cups water

1 bunch sliced green onions

cooked white rice

Tabasco Sauce

In a heavy cast iron skillet, brown the smoked sausage in the vegetable oil. Remove to a paper towel lined dish to drain off any extra fat. Pat dry the chicken pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the same iron skillet as the sausage was browned in. Place browned chicken pieces on a separate pan from the sausage lined with paper towels. Pour out all of the fat in the skillet except about 1 tablespoon. Add the okra and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and celery and continue to cook until celery is tender. In a large heavy pot add the water and chicken stock; bring to a simmer. Add the okra mixture to the simmering liquid and then the chicken. Simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked and gumbo is thickened. Stir in the browned sausage, green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve gumbo over white rice with Tabasco on the side.

Roasted California Chilies and Garlic Chowder with Rosemary Sourdough Croutons

Roasted California Chilies and Garlic Chowder with Rosemary Sourdough Croutons


8 dried California chilies

2 bulbs of garlic

Olive oil to drizzle on garlic

1 1/2 tsp. corn oil

4 white potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 onions, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 3-4 inch sprig of fresh thyme

1 cup white wine

1 cup water

about 1 1/2 cups half-and-half

salt: to taste



6 cups fresh sourdough bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan



Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Roast the dried chilies in the oven for 30 seconds. Remove, reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Simmer the chiles in the pot of water until very soft.

While the chilies simmer, cut the tops of the heads of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast until soft. Set aside. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees. for the croutons.

While the garlic is roasting, drain chilies reserving a little bit of the liquid. Remove the chile stems and seeds. Puree the chilies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, adding enough liquid to form a paste. Place in bowl; set aside.

In a large stockpot, heat the corn oil. Saute the potatoes and onions with the bay leaf and thyme over low heat for about 8 minutes.

Add the wine; deglaze the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes to let alcohol to evaporate. Add 1 cup of water,; simmer until vegetables are soft.

Squeeze the pulp from the garlic bulbs into the bowl of a food processor. Using a slotted spoon, add two-thirds of the potatoes and onions to the food processor bowl with the garlic. Process until smooth. Add the puree to the remaining vegetables.

Add the chile paste, the half-and-half and the salt to the chowder. Heat until just below simmer. Do not boil.



In a bowl, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil and rosemary. Spread the cubes on a foil line baking sheet; bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning often until toasted. While the croutons are still hot , toss with the Parmesan cheese.


Ladle chowder into bowls, top with croutons.

Spinach Corn Strudel with Tomato Dipping Sauce


1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups corn kernels

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

nutmeg ; to taste

salt and pepper; to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 cups fresh packed baby spinach

4 sheets of phyllo dough

4 tablespoons melted butter

Tomato Sauce:

3 tomatoes

salt; to taste

sugar; to taste

pepper; to taste

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

6 fresh basil leaves , chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, corn, egg whites, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper until combined. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the spinach. Saute until soft. Place the spinach on a cloth towel and dry the spinach, squeezing gently. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Brush a sheet of phyllo dough with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place the second sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets.

With the long side of the phyllo toward you, spoon the ricotta  mixture onto bottom third of the dough, spread spinach on top of the ricotta.

Roll the phyllo up from the bottom, like a log; tucking in on the sides as you roll. Place on prepared sheet pan and bake 20 minutes, until golden.

Cut the phyllo diagonally into 8 pieces for appetizers or 4 for entree. Serve with the tomato sauce.

8 appetizers

2 entree

Tomato Sauce:

Blanch tomatoes in boiling water, chill in ice bath, remove skins and seeds.

In a food processor, puree the tomato. Add the salt, sugar and pepper; to taste.

With food processor running , slowly pour in the olive oil and vinegar. Blend until mixture is smooth.

Stir in basil.